I paint. Well, not much anymore, but I began life as a visual artist and only migrated to melodies and poetry in an effort to woo women in high school. But I’ve always thought in pictures more than sounds. And my most content moments as a child were at the kitchen table, crayon or paintbrush in hand, glue under my nails, slivers of paper scattered around me, covered in the debris of the creative process. Created was my Ritalin. Still is. Before doctors and moms medicated the overly enthusiastic and manic my mother channelled my hyperactivity and intellect into pages and paint. And it’s still my drug of choice.
Today my work is songs and my hobby is painting pieces like this one. I made this last week when I needed a break from industry and wanted to fill a bare wall in my bedroom. Making it was the highlight of my week. The most peaceful and happy I’ve felt in a long time. My life is good right now, great even, but putting this image on canvas took me from content to downright euphoric.
I guess the thing I love so much about painting these days is how untainted the whole process is by the outside world, by the critic and the audience. It’s free. There’s nothing riding on how well my images are liked. There’s no mandate to be an upbeat, positive and safe for the whole family painter. There’s no testing done on my brushstrokes, no corporate voice changing my palette with the market, no chart to make, no tickets to sell, no trips to take and awards to aspire to.
When I smear color on canvas I’m a kid again, mesmerized and enthralled by being able to make something I like. And there’s not even the slightest desire to stand back to back to anyone else. There’s no assessment of value. No labeling it “art” or “good.”
Instead I just make. Make what I like. And while people sometimes comment on the honesty of my shows or songs I have to admit that my paintings, because they’re unscrutinized and unsold, are the most honest works I make these days. The rest is half honesty and half marketable commodity. Half joy and half necessary labor.
If only we artists could make a living making stuff for mom’s refrigerator and not the masses. If only I could write songs as unashamedly, freely and flippantly as I decorate a page. Maybe someday.
(Picture credits: 1:”People Watching Daddy Sing” by Gabriella Groves, 2:Untitled by Me, 3:”Mommy Loves Daddy” by Gabriella Groves)